FIFA won’t take up Palestinian complaint against Israeli clubs
search

FIFA won’t take up Palestinian complaint against Israeli clubs

Soccer world body decides to stay out of dispute over West Bank settlement teams, saying the issue is a political one

Ofer Eini, president of the Israel Football Association, speaks at the 67th FIFA Congress in the Bahraini capital Manama on May 11, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)
Ofer Eini, president of the Israel Football Association, speaks at the 67th FIFA Congress in the Bahraini capital Manama on May 11, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

FIFA will not weigh punitive measures against Israel over Israeli soccer clubs’ activity in the West Bank, Europe’s top soccer official said.

In a meeting Friday, the world’s top soccer body decided to remove the issue from its agenda. Aleksander Čeferin, president of UEFA, the Union of European Football Associations, of which Israel is a member, notified Israeli Soccer Federation head Ofer Eini of the decision.

According to Hebrew media reports, FIFA views the matter as a political dispute between Israelis and Palestinians and has thus elected not to intervene.

Eini called the move “a significant achievement” for Israel. He praised FIFA’s decision as “correct and brave.”

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) had complained that the activities of six Israeli clubs based in settlements beyond the Green Line were in breach of FIFA statutes, which forbid member associations from playing in another nation’s territory without permission.

The Palestinians have said that as a full FIFA member the PFA has the right to block Israeli teams from playing on land Palestinians consider their own. It demanded that FIFA take punitive action against the Israeli teams.

Israel argued that FIFA rules are unenforceable as there is no permanent, recognized border in the area.

In its decision Friday, FIFA appeared to accept the Israeli position.

AFP contributed to this report.

read more:
comments